"You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry… Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong…with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism." Martin Luther King
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
What Kaepernick has done through his generous and heroic stand against racism and police brutality is somewhat similar to Trump’s actions to be honest. He has sharpened, or brought more in to the open the class divide.
One positive result of the Predator in Chief's overt racist and misogynistic positions is that it has brought some of the hidden, cowardly types in to the open. He has given them a little confidence that I have to say won’t bode them well in the long run. Friends I know have had to choose now as some of the people they thought were friends are not. Not because they don’t watch football or support the Raiders or appreciate fishing on the weekend, but because they clearly do not support the cause that Kaepernick and others are bringing to the fore in the most peaceful, mild way.
“Well, cops have a hard time of it and their lives are difficult” says one friend of a friend in response to the question, “What position do you take with regard to the issue that Kaepernick and others are drawing attention to?” They don't like this question which is why the anthem and respecting flags or the military has become their mantra.
This pathetic response comes after repeated attempts to get people to respond to the actual issue rather than nonsense about anthems or disrespecting flags. On second thought, it’s not pathetic really as it is as close to the truth as you’ll get from some of these people, almost always white folks. And white males at that. They side with the cops on this issue. In their minds there is no real problem with the disproportionate killing of black people by law enforcement, unarmed black people most of the time. Some of these victims have been chased down, murdered, and had guns planted on them; but the cops are the real victims. They’re out there protecting us from bad guys.
I don’t hate individual cops and I don’t believe every person joins the police force in order to have a field day shooting black folk. But I am aware of history and the role of cops and that has been to suppress the workers movement and support racist laws when they were told to. They break strikes either physically or by ensuring struck businesses stay open and scabs cross picket lines unhindered. They take sides.
When the bankers, hedge fund managers, big landlords and other parasitic individuals saved their own skins and found it necessary to throw five million people out of their homes during the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the cops were there to do the job. Those of us that resisted would be thrown in jail. They rake sides.
Those that defend the police and the state here, those workers that is, are completely oblivious to the role of the police in society. I am being generous here as there is a whole bunch of them whose sole motive is racial prejudice. Either way, they will get theirs as the saying goes.
So this development has done us all a favor in bringing this stuff in to the open, laid some shit on the table as they say. Beyond the divisions opening up among working people, and I am optimistic to be honest that most workers sympathize with the cause and the concern the protests have raised about black lives and also the racism in society, we are seeing the class divisions in society a little more clearly.
We had the billionaire owners, two of them, Khan and Kraft openly supporting the protests and any person with a brain knows their support is profit driven and has nothing to do with principles or a concern for black lives or any lives for that matter. And now we have Jerry Jones the waster that owns the Dallas Cowboys saying that, “I know this. We cannot in the NFL, in any way, give the implication that we tolerate disrespecting the flag,”
Jones was born in to money and his whole life has been a gift. He is worth almost $6 billion. His players are a commodity that are expendable, like a chair or a nice car. That he has his capital, (money he never worked for or earned) invested in a sports franchise is incidental. He could have bought a few Baskin and Robbins ice cream parlors if the return on the dollar was right and there were no unions.
Jones, like Kraft of the Patriots, is a member of the ruling class in the US, he is a US bourgeois. He does not want to give any credibility to the cause that Kaepernick decided to risk his career for. Some of his class colleagues like Kraft take a different approach, they pretend to be concerned in order to keep the protests muted and limited. They don’t want things to get out of hand, to spread and to link up with other important issues that US workers face today. They are aware that the conditions of most Americans are deteriorating rapidly. Some 50 million of us live in depressed communities, poverty is rife, infant mortality is much lower than little Cuba’s and the life expectancy of whites is declining in a country where they are supposed to be privileged. US capitalism is in an acute economic, political and looming social crisis and the big bourgeois know it. It's a ticking time bomb.
So Jerry Jones and others like him, and some workers duped by the propaganda, makes an issue of flags and anthems. Jones is a liar and a con man. People used to ask me how I could defend a guilty worker. It’s easy, the bosses’ they stick together, so should we. The worst workers I have ever had to defend as a union steward over 30 year could steal their entire life and not hold a candle to thieving con men like Jerry Jones and the dominant figures in the US ruling class.
Jones and Mike Pence who walked out of a game make an issue of flags and anthems as a smoke screen, a diversion from the real issue, in this case racism and police brutality. Pence is no friend of working people. He describes himself as an Evangelical Christian, that should warn anyone. He’s opposed to women having control over their own bodies. He’s , "a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.", he once said. He’s a big tea bagger guy and a misogynist like Ted Cruz who he supported before jumping on the predator’s bandwagon.
Even though it is hard at times to support professional sports players given their obscene salaries they are still the exploited in this situation and the owners the exploiters. The players are union so this is an issue too. If the heads of organized labor weren’t such a worthless bunch they’d be organizing these protests and linking them to attacks on workers as a whole.
The main thing though is that Kaepernick is on the right side of history. He is on the side of working people in this issue as racism while having devastating consequences for black folks is bad for all of us.